2017 Lincoln MKZ Preview
By Christian Wardlaw, November 18, 2015
- Restyled with yet another new Lincoln “face”
- Standard turbocharged, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine
- Optional twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter V-6 engine
- Available 2.0H hybrid version
- Available all-wheel-drive (AWD) system
- Optional Driver’s package with dynamic torque vectoring
- Knobs and buttons replace touch-sensing interior controls
- New Sync 3 next-generation infotainment system
- New forward-collision warning system with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking
- New adaptive LED headlights, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and automatic hold functions, enhanced park-assist technology, and Revel premium audio systems
- On sale summer 2016
Lincoln has settled on “quiet luxury” as its reason for being, and in doing so the company is reworking its product lineup yet again, starting with a new Lincoln Continental flagship sedan. The Continental is widely expected to debut in Detroit in January of 2016, kicking off what Lincoln hopes will be a brand renaissance. Thus, the appearance of the updated 2017 Lincoln MKZ at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show was somewhat of a surprise.
A midsize luxury sedan that is usually lumped in with entry-level luxury models because of its attractive price, the Lincoln MKZ’s most natural competitors have historically included the Acura TLX, Buick Regal, Lexus ES, and Volvo S60. With the updates for 2017, Lincoln is hoping to elevate the MKZ’s stature on the luxury sedan stage.
The Lincoln Continental Concept debuted a fresh design language for Lincoln, one ridding the car of its “flying wing” or “split wing” grille in favor of a more traditional grille showcasing the Lincoln star emblem. In fact, while from a distance the grille appears to be drilled metal, it is actually a repeating pattern incorporating the Lincoln star.
That approach now appears for the first time in production form, serving as the centerpiece of the Lincoln MKZ’s new front styling. Combined with available LED headlights and a new creased hood, the look is upscale yet understated, distinctive yet familiar. Likely, Lincoln would chalk this assessment up as success.
Aside from new wheels, new colors, and subtle changes to the MKZ’s rear end, the rest of the car looks the same as before, which is not a bad thing.
“Designed to provide feelings of confidence and strength,” according to Lincoln, the 2017 MKZ’s interior is “a haven of refined comfort (with) curated spaces for storage.” Quietude is also a claimed MKZ hallmark, thanks to its Active Noise Control system.
Lincoln plans to offer the MKZ in four different interior colors: Ebony, Cappuccino, Terra Cotta, and Jade Gray.
Adaptive LED headlights are a new upgrade for 2017, and the power-retractable panoramic sunroof, which essentially lifts a huge section of the glass and slides it down over the rear window, returns to provide the largest sunroof opening of any sedan.
Lincoln also offers its Black Label program for the MKZ. Choose this purchase route and you’ll select from three different themed vehicles called Chalet, Vineyard, and Thoroughbred. A personal consultant comes to your home to help you choose options and to order the vehicle, which comes with bespoke materials and detailing. Furthermore, the Black Label ownership experience provides special benefits unavailable to other Lincoln owners.
Under the Hood
In standard format, the 2017 Lincoln MKZ is equipped with a new turbocharged, direct-injection, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine whipping up 245 horsepower and, for now, an unknown amount of torque. Expect the torque to be available across a broad rev range, helping to make this version of the MKZ feel energetic.
Lincoln is also planning to offer the MKZ Hybrid again, wearing “2.0H” badges. No details were offered about this powertrain, or whether the company will continue to sell the Hybrid at no extra charge.
The big news in Los Angeles was the debut of a new twin-turbocharged, direct-injection, 3.0-liter V-6 engine, which is exclusive to Lincoln and is not shared with any Ford products. With front-wheel drive this motor makes 350 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. Install the optional AWD system and output is bumped to 400 horsepower.
Lincoln Drive Control supplies the MKZ with driver-selected Comfort, Normal, and Sport driving modes as well as an adaptive damping suspension. It is available for any 2017 MKZ, and receives unique suspension tuning for the new Driver’s package that is offered for the MKZ 3.0T AWD.
Another important news item associated with the 2017 Lincoln MKZ is the debut of automatic emergency braking technology.
Until now, Ford Motor Company has offered forward-collision warning with brake support, which required driver reaction to a collision warning in order to initiate maximum braking force to try and avoid a collision. With the 2017 MKZ’s debut, the automaker introduces a new Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection system, which can automatically apply the car’s brakes when the system detects a potential for a collision, including with a pedestrian.
Expect Ford and Lincoln to roll this technology out to all of its models just as soon as it can.
With the 2017 MKZ, Lincoln introduces a number of new or upgraded technologies.
Kicking things off is the Sync 3 infotainment system, with faster operation and response, improved graphics and voice recognition, and more intuitive operation similar to a smartphone or tablet computer touch screen.
New Revel premium audio systems debut for the MKZ, the top version equipping the car with 20 speakers. An adaptive cruise control system includes stop-and-go and automatic hold capability to make driving in traffic easier, and an enhanced park-assist system autonomously steers the MKZ into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces. It can even get the car out of a tight spot, thanks to its “park-out” feature.